File:Beach Boys - Wild Honey (single).jpg|
|Song by The Beach Boys from the album Smiley Smile|
September 18, 1967|
July 10–11, 1967, Brian Wilson's home studio, Los Angeles|
|Smiley Smile track listing|
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|The Beach Boys singles chronology
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"Wind Chimes" is a song composed by Brian Wilson for the American rock band The Beach Boys. The original version of the song was written and recorded for the aborted 1966 album Smile. The band completely re-recorded the song for inclusion on their next album, Smiley Smile. That version was released on the b-side of "Wild Honey", their 1967 single which charted at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Early versions and alternate mixes of the song were later released on the Beach Boys' box sets Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993) and The Smile Sessions (2011).
When Brian Wilson returned to finish Smile as a solo project in 2004, he would record the song again. This version was also used as a b-side, this time for Wilson's solo recording of "Wonderful", which charted at #29 in the UK.
Marilyn Wilson said: "We went shopping one day and we brought home some wind chimes. We hung them outside the house and then one day, while Brian was sitting around he sort of watched them out the window and then he wrote the song. I think that’s how it happened. Simple. He does a lot of things that way."
The song fulfills the "Air" portion of "The Elements".
In its original version, "Wind Chimes" was in AAB form. The finished 'A' sections feature Carl Wilson on lead vocals, singing over a backing track consisting of marimbas, percussion, and double bass. As with all parts of the project, Brian Wilson experimented with a number of variant arrangements for "Wind Chimes" - Takes 1-3 and Takes 8-9 of the A-section backing track feature an alternative arrangement in which the marimbas were replaced by multiple keyboards (possibly celeste, organ, piano and/or harpsichord). There is also a surviving alternate vocal version of the A section (possibly a demo) on which Brian sings the lead vocal.
The B section consists of variations on the bass line from the A section, first sung by the whole group over a full backing track, and then, repeated much more quietly, by three pianos. The session tapes reveal that while Brian was usually exacting in his musical demands as a producer, he was also very alert and responsive to improvisations and even apparent "mistakes" made by his session musicians. During a 'pickup' take for the 'B' Section backing track one of the keyboard players accidentally plays a scale of five semitones, instead of the central 3-semitone riff. Wilson immediately stops the take, enthusiastically declares "That was a good mistake!", and then instructs the musicians to incorporate this accidental change into the next take.
The song was recorded in three sessions. On August 3, 1966 at Gold Star Studios, Brian Wilson produced the backing track. Two months later, on October 5, the A sections of the backing track were redone with a much smaller band, and the band recorded their vocals on October 10. The October recording sessions were at Western Studios and were engineered by Chuck Britz.
After Smile was abandoned, the group quickly recorded an album, to be released in its place. Smiley Smile would be released in September 1967 and featured both new songs and new recordings of songs originally intended for Smile. The new version of "Wind Chimes" was recorded by the band on July 10 & 11 at Brian Wilson's home studio. It starts with 2 A sections, just like the original version, but the rest of the song is different, ending with a vocal tag based on a Smile track called "Holidays". As with the other Smile songs that were re-recorded for Smiley Smile, the arrangement is much sparser than the original recording. Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love, and Dennis Wilson all take turns on the lead vocals.
The below listing is for the initial version of "Wind Chimes" attempted during Smile sessions.
- The Beach Boys
- Additional musicians